Lead and influence ethical practice in the public sector

This unit covers ethical leadership and responsibility for influencing ethical practice in the public sector. It includes embodying and modelling public service values, embedding ethical practice into the organisation's culture and processes and promoting ethical leadership and decision making at all levels of the organisation.In practice, ethical conduct is demonstrated in the context of other generalist or specialist work activities such as managing client services, managing financial resources, providing strategic HR services, managing regulatory compliance, managing contracts etc.No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication


This unit supports the attainment of skills and knowledge required for applying ethical conduct and accountability required in those working in government employment.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Embody and model public service values

1.1 Personal dealings within and on behalf of the organisation are used to consistently demonstrate a commitment to the professionalism, ethical values and principles of public service.

1.2 A high level of expertise related to public sector ethics and standards is developed and maintained in accordance with current legislation and guidelines.

1.3 Complex ethical matters are interpreted and advice is provided to resolve them in accordance with legislative requirements and public sector standards.

1.4 The reporting of suspected unethical conduct is encouraged, dealt with in a confidential manner and acted on promptly in accordance with public sector standards and organisational policy and procedures.

2. Embed ethical practice into the organisation's culture and processes

2.1 Strengths, weaknesses and threats to ethical conduct in the organisation are identified through analysis of state, national and international trends, and strategies are developed to act on them in accordance with legislative requirements.

2.2 Management and accountability structures in the organisation are analysed against public sector standards, and strategies put in place to ensure continuous improvement.

2.3 Development/review of policy and organisational processes is influenced to include and address ethical considerations in accordance with public sector standards.

2.4 Frameworks for ethical decision making and policy setting are developed and promoted in accordance with public sector standards.

2.5 Policies and procedures are analysed/designed to allow individuals to safely report breaches of ethical conduct and for remedying breaches of ethical conduct.

3. Promote ethical leadership and decision making at all levels of the organisation

3.1 Dialogue on organisational values and ethics is fostered with and between staff to develop a strong understanding of and commitment to public sector standards.

3.2 Leadership and guidance are provided to empower individuals and the organisation to address ethical issues in accordance with legislative requirements and public sector standards.

3.3 Organisational patterns, trends and issues that require ethical consideration by managers and staff are identified and referred for action.

3.4 Leadership programs that promote ethical and values-based behaviour are promoted and supported according to organisational requirements and the individual needs and capabilities of staff.

Required Skills

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

developing frameworks for ethical decision making

analysing policies/organisational procedures for consistency with public sector standards

using a variety of words and language structures to explain complex ideas to different audiences

interpreting and explaining complex, formal documents and influencing others to apply them in the workplace

using strategies to clarify understanding

fostering dialogue on organisational values and ethics with and between staff

undertaking strategic analysis leading to risk identification, mitigation and planning related to unethical practice

accessing legislation and codes of ethics electronically or in hard copy

responding to diversity, including gender and disability

influencing others to apply occupational health and safety procedures relating to ethical work practices

Knowledge requirements

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

state, national and international trends in the development of ethical organisations

frameworks for ethical decision making/problem solving and policy setting

public sector ethics, values and standards

the role of organisational codes of ethics/conduct

legislation related to privacy, freedom of information, human rights, whistleblower protection

procedural fairness

procedures or protocols for dealing with unethical conduct

equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles

occupational health and safety procedures relating to ethical work practices

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together

Pre-requisite units that must be achieved prior to this unit:Nil

Co-requisite units that must be assessed with this unit:Nil

Co-assessed units that may be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:

PSPHR702B Formulate a strategic human resource plan

PSPHR703A Provide leadership in strategic human resource management

PSPMNGT701B Provide strategic direction

PSPMNGT702A Influence and shape diversity management

PSPMNGT703A Lead and influence change

PSPMNGT704A Undertake enterprise risk management

PSPPOL701A Influence strategic policy

PSPPROC703B Evaluate and improve procurement performance

Overview of evidence requirements

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

the knowledge requirements of this unit

the skill requirements of this unit

application of Employability Skills as they relate to this unit

leadership and influence in ethical practice in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Resources required to carry out assessment

These resources include:

ethics-related legislation and guidelines

codes of conduct and codes of ethics

public sector standards, procedures and protocols

ethical decision making/problem solving frameworks

state, national and international data on trends in organisational ethics management

Where and how to assess evidence

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when developing an ethical organisational culture, processes and conduct in a public sector environment, including coping with ambiguity, difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine

leadership and influence in ethical practice demonstrated in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

people with disabilities

people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people


young people

older people

people in rural and remote locations

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

case studies




authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics in the Performance Criteria is explained here.

Professionalism may include:

ethical conduct




respect for others

able to withstand external scrutiny

Ethical values and principles may include:

respect for the law











respect for persons

responsible care

Legislation and guidelines may include:

legislation for public sector management

freedom of information legislation

privacy legislation

equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination law

public sector standards

Ministerial directions

government policy

legal precedents

State/Territory/Commonwealth codes of ethics

equity guidelines/workplace diversity guidelines

organisational codes of conduct

organisational mission and values statements

organisational procedures/guidelines

organisational performance management policy

Complex ethical matters may include:

conflict between public sector standards and personal values

conflict between public sector standards and other standards such as professional standards

conflict between public sector standards and directions of a senior officer or Minister

tension between two 'rights' such as the right to privacy versus the right to freedom of information

Organisational processes may include:

strategic planning and risk assessment

policy development




performance management

learning and development




ceasing of temporary contracts

disciplinary and grievance procedures

establishment of an ethics committee within the organisation


procurement and contracting

Breaches of ethical conduct may include:

fraud, corruption, maladministration and waste

unauthorised access to and use of information, money/finances, vehicles, equipment, resources

improper public comment on matters relating to the government and/or the organisation

falsifying records

giving false testimonials


improper use of equipment, telephones, credit cards, frequent flyer points, email and Internet

extravagant or wasteful practices

personal favours, preferential treatment

putting barriers in place, hindering, blocking action

compromising behaviour including sexual harassment

directing others to act unethically

oppressive/coercive management decisions

resorting to illegality to obtain evidence

not responding/following organisational and legislative requirements when responding to breaches


Not applicable.

Competency Field

Ethics and Accountability.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.